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Published: August 4th 2018
Welcome To The Jungle: Adventures In The Pampus (08/07/2018 - 10/07/2018)
In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight...
Okay, so there are no lions in this jungle... but there are caymen and pink dolphins, amongst other jungle critters. Yes, you read that correctly.. pink dolphins. I hadn't heard of them either until this trip.
To get to the Bolivian jungle, you need to get to Rurrenabaque. From La Paz, it´s a horrendously bumpy but cheap night bus, or an expensive 35 minute flight. I opted for the former, and unluckily had the seat right at the back so it didn´t recline (boo, no sleep for me).
Once at Rurrenabaque in the early hours (6am) - you have time to choose your agency and choose between the Amazon or the Pampus tour, before they all begin around 8am. After choosing ours (I made friends with a fun, Mancunian couple on the bus), I randomly found a french bakery (he wasn´t open but I fluttered my eyelashes), and he baked us some delicious, fresh pain au chocolats.. just what we needed!
Due to the less thick vegetation, the Pampas tour is the best option
if you want to spot as much wildlife as possible. Bingo. My kinda tour!
Here is my list of spotted wildlife during my 3 days of Pampus adventures:
• caymen (so many caymen)
• squirrel monkies
• paradise birds
• a bird with the longest fingers,
• a very large stork
• king fishers
• capybara (the largest rodents in the world)
• pink river dolphins (so many!)
• yellow footed heron
• amazon flamingo (so beautiful!)
• snake duck
• tiger heron
Day 2 involved trekking wellie-deep through thick mud and snake infested marshes. Unfortuntely we didn´t see any then, but we headed over to a cowboy´s ranch (a real cowboy!), and saw the anaconda they caught a few hours before. The anaconda is one of the world’s largest snakes, and ours was 2-3 meters long!
The highlight of the trip for me was the piranha fishing. Although I almost fell into the piranha-infested water when Adam tried to pass me (our boat was very narrow), he slipped in mud and bashed into me, causing me to whack my knees on the edge of the boat (they are still hurting almost 1 month later). Most of the group caught one piranha
each (including me, see photo for evidence), later the chef fried them and we ate them for dinner. Our guide gave us a specific steps on how to eat them. It got weird at step 4 when he told us to suck out the eye balls, then step 5 got even weirder when he told us to suck out the brain (his favourite bit). I stopped after step 3.
My group were mostly English and all were big drinkers (surprise, surprise), so many beers were consumed. Infact, so many beers were consumed that they completely bought the place out and we had to drive to another camp for more.
Our guide was a proper jungle boy, born and raised in the Pampus. We had hit the jackpot. His stories of him almost dying (he was bit by the 2nd most poision snake in the World and spent a long time in a coma), and how he trekked through the jungle with a female English journalist for months on end, armed just with a few items (they had to hunt for all their food). He ended up stopping it because he was worried that if he were to die,
she would not survive alone in the jungle. He was an interesting character indeed.
The electricity was limited (6pm-10pm), the showers were cold, and there were huge, scary toads in all the toilets, but it was 3 days of adventurous, jungle fun! One night (by candle light), the Mancunian lad even performed his own rap music - he was amazing and took us all by suprise (we later made him perform on a bar in a club in La Paz post Pampus tour, they absolutely loved him).
On the way back to La Paz on the bus, I had more bad luck with a broken chair which moved up and down over every bump and a window which opened itself after several minutes, oh and I had a curtain war with the guy infront of me. I won.
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